Women as forest managers: the effect of male outmigration

Participation has always been one of the development goals of decentralized programs. The community forestry program in Nepal also aims to bring forth the participation of disadvantaged communities such as women in forest management. However, even after three decades of community forestry, women's participation is still hard to achieve. Empirical studies on women's participation often cite the social context as one of the important factors affecting women's participation. This research aims to investigate the effect of a changing social context - due to male outmigration - on women's (active) participation in the management of community forests. In particular, different circumstances that can arise due to male outmigration in a social setting will be identified and their relation to women’s participation in community forestry will be analyzed. The goal is to assess which conditions can lead to increasing women’s participation in community forestry. Data is collected in two Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) in Ramechhap district: Majuwa Bhumithan CFUG and Dugudsingh Hup CFUG. Semi-structured survey, key-person interviews, observations were used to collect primary data. Likewise, secondary information such as existing data on migration, database of CFUGs located in Mid-hills, forest constitution and operational plan of CFUGs are also gathered. This research project thus aims to analyze women’s empowerment through community forest management of Nepal. Specifically, the research aims to analyze following dimensions:

  • How can male outmigration affect women's participation in community forestry? Are there any circumstances that arise due to male outmigration that can enhance women's participation?
  • What are women's preferred mode of participation in community forestry?
  • Does male outmigration lead to a process of social transformation that is conducive to empower women through an active engagement with community forestry? 


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